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Now is your chance to tell me how much I suck at copywriting

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Tom H.

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I'm sure you can find at least 10 things about the sales letter below that suck. Get at it and send me back to the woodshed!

This letter will be positioned as a "bonus article" at the beginning of all of the Illustrated Chess books, to get people off of Amazon and on to my mailing list. Please do your worst, because I have a lot of books, so once I publish this thing on Amazon, it's a real pain to change it, so I want to get this right now and maybe you can help.

Thanks!

UPDATE
The shorter and revised letter: Mystery Bonus For Chess Fans Only

---

Which of your chess heroes will hand you a key?

Not just a key to getting better at chess. Not just a key to getting more fun out of chess. But a key you can keep in your pocket and pull out anytime to unlock the world where you chat with Paul Morphy, visit with Bobby Fischer, and see through the eyes of Capablanca. The world where chess players from all times and all places come together in a single moment.

Lots of great players have been there...

I picture Bobby Fischer as a child, hiding under his blankets — flashlight, chess book, pocket-sized chess set. Locked into another world. Not the world of adults yelling, his sister crying, or the other kids at school, but a world where he is mentored by his heroes — whether long gone or far away, they all live in the sample place, at the same time, and they all speak the same language.

To think of Bobby studying his predecessors, his understanding growing — I know what that feels like! Suddenly seeing the chessboard just a little more clearly. Feeling the pieces on the board becoming a part of your intuition. We all have a chance to experience a sliver of what the great chess masters lived for.

And what does Bobby do when the sun comes up and it's time to go to school?

I'm sure his chess book is under his arm and his chess set in his pocket. Sure... he gets in trouble sometimes for playing chess instead of paying attention in class, but what kind of authority does a school teacher have compared to Nimzowitsch or Lasker? Who cares about the world of homework and chalkboards?

Wherever young Bobby goes, there's a whole other world waiting in his pocket for him to jump into and explore. I want to put my chess heroes in my pocket like that!

That's why I created Illustrated Chess. When I started working on my first book, I didn't know I'd ever sell chess books, I just wanted to keep great chess games close — to have them not just when I'm sitting at a board playing through moves, but as bedtime reading, or on my phone when I'm stuck waiting. Illustrated Chess gave me a way to dive into the chess world anytime and anywhere.

I set out from the beginning to make the books easy and fun.

That's why I made books instead of relying on an app, I wanted to use the simplest technology possible, so that the experience would always be easy. I can always open an EPUB or a PDF on my phone, or send a MOBI file to my Kindle. I don't have to think about finding the right app or the right set of files, the books just work.

In the spirit of making things easy and fun, the very first books were created around the idea of "a diagram for every move". These books let chess fans relax and enjoy the show.

Illustrated Chess readers give me lots of ideas for new books and new ways to connect with the world of my chess heroes. Thanks to reader suggestions, I'm working on new books and book supplements everyday. The Illustrated Chess library is growing... if you're a chess fan, there's a lot you can get out of the new book formats and new titles we add every month.

  • Sit back and "enjoy the show" with classic Illustrated Chess titles featuring a diagram for every move — get game collections themed by player, event or opening
  • Page through Companion Editions showing all of the games from all of the best chess books like My 60 Memorable Games, Instructive Games of Chess, Reassess Your Chess, My System, and every other chess book you can imagine
  • Subscriber Choice collections let you see every move from your favorite streamer's latest match, speed run or subscriber tournament
  • Automatically and effortlessly train your brain to visualize chess moves with the Big Red Book collection — just like the not-so-secret book that Bobby Fischer used to defeat the Russian chess machine
  • Learn to memorize your favorite classic games with Memory Check Chess
  • Taste what it feels like when grandmasters conduct a blindfold simul — level up your skills with Board Vision Workouts
  • Learn how you can turn your own games into Illustrated Chess books!
  • Wanna play like Paul Morphy? Stop solving tactics like a fish and become a tactics pro with Blindfold Tactics
  • Step into the shoes of chess champions: convert their advantages into wins with Winning Positions

Plus:
  • Share Illustrated Chess books freely: every book is 100% DRM-free, meaning you own every book you buy and it's yours to keep forever

And because I love chess and want everyone to benefit from these books, I've made the software we created 100% open-source under the GNU Public License. This means that even if you have no interest in buying books, you are welcome to download the code anytime and create these books for yourself. We've rebuilt the software from the ground up to make it as easy to use as possible. You don't have to be any kind of computer genius to make it work.

The only thing you need to do is sign up at https://www.illustratedchess.com/bonus - and then I will make sure you have all of the information you need to get all of the Illustrated Chess books, inserts and bonuses.

What are you signing up for? A daily chess newsletter about whatever is on my mind related to being a chess fan — my favorite players, your favorite players, the struggle of being terrible at chess...

  • Why chess fans should pay attention to Magnus Carlsen's girlfriend
  • Constant debate over whether or not Paul Morphy is in-fact the greatest chess player who ever lived
  • Highlights and "today I learned" from the greatest chess books of all time
  • Why the latest Agadmator video is a must watch
  • The secret location of Antonio's old couch
  • Who is your favorite player? and why is it Tal?
  • Re-living beautiful and terrifying moments in chess history
...you get the idea. And of course, I will also encourage you to spend money on Illustrated Chess, but only because it's a ton of value and very little money. As you discover the options and exclusive bonuses, you'll see for yourself that it's an impossibly good deal. No one else is going to give you thousands of books for fractions of a cent each.

I make the books affordable, and give away the software for free because Illustrated Chess is a special experience for me. It's like the way I can bring a good novel with me anywhere and get lost in that world — the specially designed and formatted books in the Illustrated Chess library let me get lost in chess, no matter where I am.

If you're a chess fan, I want to share the experience with you.

I'm grateful that you got ahold of this book, I hope you enjoy reading and I hope it cracks open the door for you to the world that connects chess players across all times and all places.

Thanks!
Tom

p.s.
Before you click the link above, you'll notice that the URL includes the word "bonus". That's because when you sign up for the newsletter (my chess ramblings). I'm going to send you a bonus gift. The bonuses always change, and I'm developing new bonuses all the time, so I can't tell you exactly what you'll get, but I can promise you that the bonuses are exclusive to Illustrated Chess and they are not for sale. You can only get your bonus by signing up for the newsletter.

If for any reason you hate your free bonus, please send me an angry email and I will work hard to create something much better especially for you!

p.p.s
If you're reading this on an e-reader like a Kindle or Kobo and you're dreading clicking that link and opening the web browser, don't worry! I made the web page as simple as possible, so your e-reader can load everything quickly and painlessly. And there's only one field to fill out! I made it as easy as possible because that's how I roll. In case you'd rather type in the URL on your phone or computer, I tried to make it the URL easy to type and remember.
 

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BizyDad

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Are you under the impression people are motivated by delivering critical feedback to others, or is that just you?
Guilty. Not just him.

Too long for me to read right now. But I would say put the link in several times. Don't make them scroll back up to it.

I'll come back when I have time to actually read this.
 

Tom H.

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Are you under the impression people are motivated by delivering critical feedback to others, or is that just you?
My hope is that some people will be motivated by the chance to be helpful. I usually find myself contributing on forums if I just happen to be in the mood to help out. Not everyone will feel like it, but I'll take any help I can get.
 

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It is too long, I did not read it.

TLDR: TLDR

But seriously, this is going in a magazine? That you're selling on amazon? I'm having trouble understanding the context in which this is going to be read.

I think if you want people to get on a mailing list you should make chess content on social media platforms and send the traffic to a website where they can buy products or services and also choose to sign up for a mailing list. This doesn't seem like an effective strategy.
 

Tom H.

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It is too long, I did not read it.

TLDR: TLDR

But seriously, this is going in a magazine? That you're selling on amazon? I'm having trouble understanding the context in which this is going to be read.

I think if you want people to get on a mailing list you should make chess content on social media platforms and send the traffic to a website where they can buy products or services and also choose to sign up for a mailing list. This doesn't seem like an effective strategy.

People are already buying my books on Amazon Kindle store. Since they are buyers, I'd like to collect their emails.

The books consist mainly of chess diagrams. Illustrated Chess on Amazon Kindle if you want to see for yourself.

I've posted on social media and added to the list that way, but there are problems with quality, I'd rather have a smaller list and focus on converting buyers.
 

Keepg01ng

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I think it could be reduced by roughly 55% and have more impact. It could also stand to be restructured into and "Executive Summary" and then "Detail" division. That way the reader can get the 'Message' right away and then dig in deeper since you hooked them with your 100 word intro.

The books are cool and I like the execution you already have well underway. The quality of the message and offering is good. However It does need to be shorter.

I am working on an edit that I have copied into google docs to begin editing. Halfway done. I will post the link when I am done the second half.

Fair warning, I am not a copy guy or a sales guy by trade.
 

Tom H.

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I think it could be reduced by roughly 55% and have more impact. It could also stand to be restructured into and "Executive Summary" and then "Detail" division. That way the reader can get the 'Message' right away and then dig in deeper since you hooked them with your 100 word intro.

The books are cool and I like the execution you already have well underway. The quality of the message and offering is good. However It does need to be shorter.

I am working on an edit that I have copied into google docs to begin editing. Halfway done. I will post the link when I am done the second half.

Fair warning, I am not a copy guy or a sales guy by trade.

Great feedback, thank you.

Thanks for sending me the edit you created, it definitely helps me get a fresh look at the copy. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

... I was assuming there were enough copywriting people on this forum that there'd be interest in workshopping copy, I'm certainly interested in reading other people's copy so I can help them and I can make myself a better copywriter. Maybe instead of just posting my copy, I should've created a post asking if anyone is interested in sharing their copy and getting feedback. Next time.

Anyway, thank you @Keepg01ng. I definitely see how a lot of the sentences can be shorter and some of the content can even be cut out entirely, as you suggested in your edit. I'll work on another draft this week.
 

BizyDad

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Great feedback, thank you.

Thanks for sending me the edit you created, it definitely helps me get a fresh look at the copy. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

... I was assuming there were enough copywriting people on this forum that there'd be interest in workshopping copy, I'm certainly interested in reading other people's copy so I can help them and I can make myself a better copywriter. Maybe instead of just posting my copy, I should've created a post asking if anyone is interested in sharing their copy and getting feedback. Next time.

Anyway, thank you @Keepg01ng. I definitely see how a lot of the sentences can be shorter and some of the content can even be cut out entirely, as you suggested in your edit. I'll work on another draft this week.
I'll be honest. I also expected you to get more response. Maybe, like me, they just got busy and forgot to reply. Idk.

Since you've decide to rewrite it, I'll wait for the shorter version and help critique that.
 

strobe

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Is it only for people who are experts in knowing Chess players? It immediately starts throwing out names of people I have never heard of so somebody like me, although I enjoy the occasional chess game would have no idea what you are even talking about
 

Tom H.

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Is it only for people who are experts in knowing Chess players? It immediately starts throwing out names of people I have never heard of so somebody like me, although I enjoy the occasional chess game would have no idea what you are even talking about
Yep, it is targeted at chess fans. There are a bunch of inside references in there that let chess fans know that this is for them.
 

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Black_Dragon43

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Which of your chess heroes will hand you a key?
This may provoke curiosity, but it is a poor beginning. There are several key elements that a headline (or its equivalent, like your question) should deliver:
1. Benefits
2. News
3. Curiosity
4. Convenience

You deliver just curiosity, which is the LEAST important. The most important is the first one. BENEFITS, meaning something that appeals to their self-interest. I see nothing that appeals to my self-interest here, and I'm a chess player.

Furthermore, this BENEFIT must be relevant to your product. Don't just grab attention for the sake of it. I read in order to get some benefit. This is not immediately clear. Chess heroes handing me a key?! What key?! WTH is this guy talking about? That's my reaction. It's not even immediately clear what you're advertising. If I have to think about it, or read a lot to understand what's going on, then it's bad copy.

Good copy is crystal clear from the get-go.

You want me to sign up to your newsletter. Why should I do it? You'll give me something I care about for free if I do. What do I, as a chess player, care about? "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women". That's what I care about. I want to be winning. I want to be superior to other players. So give me something that will improve my game. Something that actually makes it QUICK & EASY to improve my game. Make it something NEW - innovative, never before seen. Now you're hitting all 4 points. Condense it into a sentence. That is your first sentence.

My friends used to laugh at how badly I lost in chess... but then I discovered these 3 quick and easy steps which made their jaws drop. I suddenly started winning against friends who had played 1,000s of games more than I did. You should have seen their faces when I checkmated them... It may sound unbelievable, but these 3 small changes produced huge results. And I want to share these same 3 strategies with you. For FREE.

As a thank you note for buying this book, I want to share with you exactly how I did it. Drop me your email at ........... and I will instantly send you the exact blueprint I used. Do it now before you get caught up in the whirlwind of life and forget about it. I promise you, when you see the impact THIS will have on your game... you will not regret the 1 minute you spent entering your email and downloading this short guide.


This is much better, and along the lines I'd go for if I were you.

Don't try to be artsy/cutesy, it doesn't work. Hit the pain-points. You don't want me to say "Oh that was a great writeup" and then close your book, never to open it again. You want me to say "let me grab this now".

Also, you gotta fix your process. You don't give the book away after they enter their email with a link. I was able to steal them just by giving you a fake email. Send the link via email only.
 
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Tom H.

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This may provoke curiosity, but it is a poor beginning. There are several key elements that a headline (or its equivalent, like your question) should deliver:
1. Benefits
2. News
3. Curiosity
4. Convenience

You deliver just curiosity, which is the LEAST important. The most important is the first one. BENEFITS, meaning something that appeals to their self-interest. I see nothing that appeals to my self-interest here, and I'm a chess player.

Furthermore, this BENEFIT must be relevant to your product. Don't just grab attention for the sake of it. I read in order to get some benefit. This is not immediately clear. Chess heroes handing me a key?! What key?! WTH is this guy talking about? That's my reaction. It's not even immediately clear what you're advertising. If I have to think about it, or read a lot to understand what's going on, then it's bad copy.

Good copy is crystal clear from the get-go.

You want me to sign up to your newsletter. Why should I do it? You'll give me something I care about for free if I do. What do I, as a chess player, care about? "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women". That's what I care about. I want to be winning. I want to be superior to other players. So give me something that will improve my game. Something that actually makes it QUICK & EASY to improve my game. Make it something NEW - innovative, never before seen. Now you're hitting all 4 points. Condense it into a sentence. That is your first sentence.

My friends used to laugh at how badly I lost in chess... but then I discovered these 3 quick and easy steps which made their jaws drop. I suddenly started winning against friends who had played 1,000s of games more than I did. You should have seen their faces when I checkmated them... It may sound unbelievable, but these 3 small changes produced huge results. And I want to share these same 3 strategies with you. For FREE.

As a thank you note for buying this book, I want to share with you exactly how I did it. Drop me your email at ........... and I will instantly send you the exact blueprint I used. Do it now before you get caught up in the whirlwind of life and forget about it. I promise you, when you see the impact THIS will have on your game... you will not regret the 1 minute you spent entering your email and downloading this short guide.


This is much better, and along the lines I'd go for if I were you.

Don't try to be artsy/cutesy, it doesn't work. Hit the pain-points. You don't want me to say "Oh that was a great writeup" and then close your book, never to open it again. You want me to say "let me grab this now".

Also, you gotta fix your process. You don't give the book away after they enter their email with a link. I was able to steal them just by giving you a fake email. Send the link via email only.
Yea, great feedback, thank you.

I definitely agree that the headline is weak.

I also agree about the free download, I plan on getting off of Gumroad and just using Sendy to send a download link via email, after they confirm signing up for the newsletter.

My positioning is not exactly "get better at chess", it's more along the lines of "get more entertainment as a chess fan"... but I can see that "get better at chess" is a much stronger benefit. I should probably start by strengthening my positioning, and that might lend itself to a stronger headline.

My competition is chess streamers and YouTubers who focus on entertainment (e.g. Agadmator, Nakamura), not instruction. But every chess fan also wants to play better and instruction is important and entertaining.

I will fix my positioning and re-write this.

Thanks for the correction, I'll take it and work on it.
 

Tom H.

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Thanks to feedback and editing from @Keepg01ng and @Black_Dragon43 I heavily re-worked my sales letter.

I'm thinking that the letter below will go in the front of the book, pitching them on the bonuses for joining the newsletter, and maybe I can use my bullets about the different book formats to create a second letter to put at the end of the book.

I really appreciate the feedback I got, I think it stopped me from publishing a pretty weak sales pitch to the Kindle store.

---

Mystery Bonus For Chess Fans Only

...which bonus will you get?

Try your luck, it's your turn to spin the choice. I don't know which bonus you will get, but I know you'll get lucky. Our bonuses are hard to find and rarely for sale, you can't go wrong. You might get one of these:
  • Special editions of Choose Your Move chess fiction bring historic chess games to life in an interactive fiction format
  • Winning Position Worksheets put you in the shoes of chess legends. Can you convert their advantages into wins against the computer?
  • Chess History Highlights feature players, events and historic moments in educational infographic posters
  • In exclusive Chess Coach Commentaries top coaches share their thoughts and analysis while reviewing both classic games and hidden gems
  • Illustrated Opening Guides bring the "big ideas" and the must know lines of chess openings into beautiful infographic posters
Or you might get something new, we're coming up with new ideas all the time. My team and I develop these bonuses because they're fun for me, and if you're a chess fan (or looking for a gift for a chess fan), you're going to have a lot of fun too.

How do you get your free bonus?

By joining my daily newsletter about whatever is on my mind related to being a chess fan — my favorite players, your favorite players, the struggle of being terrible at chess...
  • Why chess fans should pay attention to Magnus Carlsen's girlfriend
  • Constant debate over whether or not Paul Morphy is in-fact the greatest chess player who ever lived
  • Highlights and "today I learned" from the greatest chess books of all time
  • Why the latest Agadmator video is a must watch
  • The secret location of Antonio's old couch
  • Who is your favorite player? and why is it Tal?
  • Re-living beautiful and terrifying moments in chess history
...you get the idea. And of course, I will also encourage you to spend money on Illustrated Chess, but only because it's a lot of value and very little money. You'll see for yourself that it's an impossibly good deal — no one else is going to give you thousands of books for less then one cent each.

Joining the newsletter is easy, you only need to enter one field, and I've even made the website super simple so it loads easily on e-readers:

https://www.illustratedchess.com/bonus

Get your free bonus now while it's hot on your mind! Then send me a message and let me know if you got the one you were looking for.

Have fun,
Tom
tom@illustratedchess.com
 
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Tom H.

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It is a bit too much curiosity driven for my personal tastes, however it has a lot more personality now than before, and is 10x better imo. So good job :)

Yea, I figured promising a bonus is at least a benefit. And the bullets describing the possible bonuses seemed like my strongest offer, basically, "if these products sound good to you, then go sign up".

If my positioning were "get better at chess", then I could have stronger benefits like in your example copy. That's not a positioning I want, though, because it's very saturated and I myself am not that great at chess. I know that "enjoyment" is one of the benefits that copywriting books talk about, but it does seem like the weakest to me. Like, "don't tell me about your weed killer, tell me about my crabgrass"... okay, the person has a problem to solve, but applying that formula to my product would be "don't tell me about your books, tell me about how bored I am"... boredom is such a non-specific and not important problem. You could definitely argue that my product simply isn't solving a very important problem, and you would be correct.

Now, I could tweak the positioning more so it's like "tell me about how I'm a bad chess fan, I should know X, Y and Z"... that's something I've considered. "Do you make these mistakes..." would be something like "Do you know these 5 must-know classic chess games". ...if you don't know that Fischer, the king of e4, opened the Spassky match with d4, you suck as a chess fan.

Anyway, I'm hoping the product descriptions are enticing, but I realize that even the product descriptions contain a strong curiosity element.

Thanks a lot for your help on this @Black_Dragon43, I think your criticism really pushed me to re-think the copy.
 

Bekit

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Thanks to feedback and editing from @Keepg01ng and @Black_Dragon43 I heavily re-worked my sales letter.

I'm thinking that the letter below will go in the front of the book, pitching them on the bonuses for joining the newsletter, and maybe I can use my bullets about the different book formats to create a second letter to put at the end of the book.

I really appreciate the feedback I got, I think it stopped me from publishing a pretty weak sales pitch to the Kindle store.

---

Mystery Bonus For Chess Fans Only

...which bonus will you get?

Try your luck, it's your turn to spin the choice. I don't know which bonus you will get, but I know you'll get lucky. Our bonuses are hard to find and rarely for sale, you can't go wrong. You might get one of these:
  • Special editions of Choose Your Move chess fiction bring historic chess games to life in an interactive fiction format
  • Winning Position Worksheets put you in the shoes of chess legends. Can you convert their advantages into wins against the computer?
  • Chess History Highlights feature players, events and historic moments in educational infographic posters
  • In exclusive Chess Coach Commentaries top coaches share their thoughts and analysis while reviewing both classic games and hidden gems
  • Illustrated Opening Guides bring the "big ideas" and the must know lines of chess openings into beautiful infographic posters
Or you might get something new, we're coming up with new ideas all the time. My team and I develop these bonuses because they're fun for me, and if you're a chess fan (or looking for a gift for a chess fan), you're going to have a lot of fun too.

How do you get your free bonus?

By joining my daily newsletter about whatever is on my mind related to being a chess fan — my favorite players, your favorite players, the struggle of being terrible at chess...
  • Why chess fans should pay attention to Magnus Carlsen's girlfriend
  • Constant debate over whether or not Paul Morphy is in-fact the greatest chess player who ever lived
  • Highlights and "today I learned" from the greatest chess books of all time
  • Why the latest Agadmator video is a must watch
  • The secret location of Antonio's old couch
  • Who is your favorite player? and why is it Tal?
  • Re-living beautiful and terrifying moments in chess history
...you get the idea. And of course, I will also encourage you to spend money on Illustrated Chess, but only because it's a lot of value and very little money. You'll see for yourself that it's an impossibly good deal — no one else is going to give you thousands of books for less then one cent each.

Joining the newsletter is easy, you only need to enter one field, and I've even made the website super simple so it loads easily on e-readers:

https://www.illustratedchess.com/bonus

Get your free bonus now while it's hot on your mind! Then send me a message and let me know if you got the one you were looking for.

Have fun,
Tom
tom@illustratedchess.com

I didn't see your thread until now, and I agree that the new version is better, but it still needs work.
I'm a chess player and an agadmator fan, so I'm a prime candidate to WANT your offer.

V1 (in your first post) turned my brain into mush within the first two sentences, and I tuned out and scrolled past it. It won't matter how compelling your offer is if your copy is not being read. Multiple people also said that they didn't read it because it was "too long." When people say this, they usually mean that it didn't hold their interest. And if it didn't hold their interest, that's often because there wasn't a clear promise of what was in it for them. I couldn't connect the dots between how "reading this message attentively" would bring me any benefit at all.

V2 wasn't quite as hard to read, but it still doesn't give me a compelling reason to click on your newsletter. Like... I'm not excited to "spin for a random bonus." What if I don't get the one I really wanted? Just pick one bonus and sell me that. And I don't need you to tell me "Why the latest Agadmator video is a must watch." I already know it's going to be, because duh, it's Agadmator.

So what is the offer still missing?

I think you haven't done the deep-dive work of understanding WHY someone would get enjoyment out of watching a chess channel.

Therefore, you're not able to articulate your offer in a way that's compelling.

Your readers need to grasp the advantage of signing up. Or they won't sign up.

but applying that formula to my product would be "don't tell me about your books, tell me about how bored I am"... boredom is such a non-specific and not important problem.
Not true. Boredom is excruciatingly painful. But I think you have look deeper than just boredom.

Now, I could tweak the positioning more so it's like "tell me about how I'm a bad chess fan, I should know X, Y and Z"... that's something I've considered. "Do you make these mistakes..." would be something like "Do you know these 5 must-know classic chess games". ...if you don't know that Fischer, the king of e4, opened the Spassky match with d4, you suck as a chess fan.
No. This is also not it. I don't want to be beaten over the head with a baseball bat if I don't yet know that "Fischer, the king of e4, opened the Spassky match with d4." You'll alienate people this way. You're going to have listeners at all different levels. The very nature of your channel assumes that you know more about chess than your listeners do. Otherwise, they'd have no use for your analysis. You want them to feel like this is a place to be safe and welcomed as they learn about and enjoy chess, not a place where they're disqualified and rejected from your club until they've gone and learned their stuff elsewhere. That's a way to have a really small audience.

My positioning is not exactly "get better at chess", it's more along the lines of "get more entertainment as a chess fan"

THIS is where you need to focus.

Now you're onto what's interesting.

So put in curiosity along these lines.

Want to get even more entertainment as a chess fan?

Join the Illustrated Chess community!

Enter your email here to get the inside scoop on all the juicy details that will boost your knowledge and understanding and help enjoy chess even more. You'll receive a monthly newsletter that contains things like...
  • The five must-know classic chess games and the lessons they contain (once you know this, you'll start to see these lessons everywhere, including your own games)
  • Why it matters that Fischer, the king of e4, opened the Spassky match with d4 (and how that affected XYZ).
  • The surprising reason why chess fans should pay attention to Magnus Carlsen's girlfriend (the implications of this little-known situation could be XYZ for the chess community)
  • The criteria that will make you sound smart when you're debating with your friends over who is the greatest chess player who ever lived, whether it's Paul Morphy or Tal or (wait, why would you ever have any other favorite???)
  • Constant opportunities to relive beautiful and terrifying moments in chess history with play-by-play analysis that brings the games to life.
So click here to sign up today so that you can enhance yourself as a chess fan even more.
 
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Tom H.

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Great feedback @Bekit, thank you.

I'm going to put the entertainment benefit in the headline, something like "If you enjoy this book, here are some ways to get even more entertainment as a chess fan". (This sales letter is going in the beginning of a book that they've already purchased). It won't be that headline exactly, but I'll make that the concept and work on it.

...that's actually exactly the kind of headline I was trying to avoid in the beginning, because my first idea was to make the ad look more like a "bonus article", so the reader wouldn't just think "ad" and skip over it. But I guess that is the job of a headline, to make the reader want to read it, even though they know it's an ad.

Your readers need to grasp the advantage of signing up. Or they won't sign up.

Yes, that is the truth, I think it's even straight out of "How To Write a Good Advertisement" by Schwab, but just because I've read the theory doesn't mean I do a good job putting it into practice.

I think you haven't done the deep-dive work of understanding WHY someone would get enjoyment out of watching a chess channel.

Actually, I think I've over-thought this in some ways, but your point stands, regardless. I need to clearly identify why someone is interested in my products. I know people are interested because people are consistently buying the books. I want to tap into whatever is motivating them to buy the books and persuade them to join the newsletter where I can pitch them on joining the membership site to get access to the entire library of books.

A lot of my thinking has been about how I use chess to connect (feel connected to other chess players) and to escape (chess lesser-evil crutch through some difficult times). That's why my first draft had the whole story about young Bobby Fischer under the covers reading chess books. A year ago I was trying to write a similar story about "The Night I Became A Chess Fan", describing how watching Ben Finegold videos turned me on to chess in a whole new way.

I honestly still believe that human connection is a big factor. That's actually one of the things Agadmator does really well, you don't just look at a Nehz game, Antonio tells you about Nezh as a person and when those super-aggressive moves come out, it's like "only Nehz could've made that move". Chess let's you become a fly on the wall watching someone else's thought process.

The other HUGE factor of course is just the intellectual stimulation, it just feels good to have your mind processing all of the logic and relationships and stuff.

So I agree with your point, and the challenge for me is how really clarify the WHY and express it in just the right way.

  • The five must-know classic chess games and the lessons they contain (once you know this, you'll start to see these lessons everywhere, including your own games)
  • Why it matters that Fischer, the king of e4, opened the Spassky match with d4 (and how that affected XYZ).
  • The surprising reason why chess fans should pay attention to Magnus Carlsen's girlfriend (the implications of this little-known situation could be XYZ for the chess community)
  • The criteria that will make you sound smart when you're debating with your friends over who is the greatest chess player who ever lived, whether it's Paul Morphy or Tal or (wait, why would you ever have any other favorite???)
  • Constant opportunities to relive beautiful and terrifying moments in chess history with play-by-play analysis that brings the games to life.

If I live up to your bullets then my newsletter can't just be drivel about how I like chess . But I see what you did, the curiosity element is still there, but there are also benefits like "sound smart", "constant opportunities", and the implied benefit of some of the other bullets like "how that affected XYZ" is that important information will be revealed that the reader will want to know. I'll try to rework my bullets to be more like your examples.
 

Tom H.

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Just pick one bonus and sell me that.

You are probably right, the random bonus aspect is more confusing and distracting then compelling. The issue is that the books are in the Kindle store and I can't easily update the copy once it's published, and I expect I'll change out what bonuses I send out... so I tried to make that into a feature, but it's probably smarter to deemphasize that and avoid adding confusion for the reader.
 

Stargazer

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This seems like overkill.

If I were to buy your book and not like it, it does not matter what your 'letter' says.

If I were to buy your book and like it then I should not need much prompting.

However I would not know this until the end which is why books have the sign up process at the end of books.

Nowadays it is a prompt to join the authors Facebook page and/or the publishers Facebook page.

In the good old days it was a reply page with a list of other books in the publishers stable.

Just over 100 years of publishing houses spending hundreds of millions over the years did not come to that formula by accident.

Literally a few lines plus the address (it is only the address bit changing with time)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a game of Kings and Queens learn to be The Emperor

If you enjoyed this issue of Chess Illustrated I invite you to join me at whatever and

Bullet 1
Bullet 2
.
.
Bullet 5

See you there and here's to Checkmate!

Tom

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's just off the cuff, if I knew a bit more about chess I would fill in the 3 to 5 bullets maximum and maybe do one revision.

You hopefully get the gist though.

Dan
 
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